Listening Hearts: Day 91

Our family has been working on a new daily practice: listening. Active, reflective, engaged listening that says to the other person. My desire is to understand you as you are, not to correct you or improve you or educate you.

To that end, we’ve been writing questions to help us get to know each other better. Some of these questions are serious; many are silly. Sometimes we laugh at things that are meant to be serious, and sometimes our silliness leads us into serious places. Our goal is to publish one each day on our blog. We hope you find them useful, either as prompts to think about yourself or as questions you bring to the car ride or the dinner table. They’re written by all of us, and you’ll see the diversity of our thoughts and interest in them, so in the questions themselves, you’ll get to know us a little better too.

Subscribe to our blog (or follow our Twitter account @familyfoxhole) to have them appear in your inbox or Twitter feed daily.

Today’s question:

Do you like practical jokes? Why or why not?

Prayers during a Pandemic: For Those Not “Safe at Home”

Our family is taking time daily to pray about the current global health crisis. Our prayers will likely reference the Christian tradition, but we’ve written with an ecumenical and agnostic audience in mind.

If you’d like us to pray for you, let us know. If you’d like us to write a prayer for you or for a concern you have and share it here, just ask. You don’t have to share your name if you don’t want to, and we won’t share it or any other identifying details about you here or elsewhere.

In this pandemic, we have a duty to others to physically isolate from them–to stay “Safe at home.” But, for many, home is the most unsafe place in their lives. Today, we pray for victims of violence within families.

Today we pray for those for whom home is not a safe place: for all victims of domestic violence. We pray for children, adults, and the elderly who are abused or neglected. We pray for people hurt physically and emotionally by their intimate partners, parents, and others whom they cannot safely flee. We pray for those who support them, love them, care for them, and advocate for them, including friends, extended family members, social workers, shelter workers and volunteers, 911 dispatchers, and others. We pray especially for police officers responding to domestic violence calls for help, that they have wisdom in responding to and keeping the most vulnerable people safe.

We pray for those we don’t know and for those we do, including [names of people who are victims of family violence, including ourselves].

We pray for people who have been hurt, are hurting, and fear being hurt. We pray for those with few places to turn for help. We recognize the reality of their pain. We pray for them resilience, comfort, hope, assurance, inner strength, peace of heart, and confidence. We hope for them safety in all forms.

We hate violence in families. We want for ourselves the courage to fight for justice for them, for an end to system of oppression that keep people stuck in unsafe situations, and for a culture change to end the entitlement of abusers. We seek the courage to name oppressors and perpetrators and hold them accountable for their actions so that they, too, can live with peace of heart.

We are thankful for members of our community vulnerable to abuse and the gifts they bring. 

Above, Eugenio Zampighpi‘s A Happy Family. All members of a household deserve respect, which is the root of love.

Need help?

  • If your life in in immediate danger, call 911.
  • The National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522.
  • Lundy Bancroft’s website

 

Listening Hearts: Day 90

Our family has been working on a new daily practice: listening. Active, reflective, engaged listening that says to the other person. My desire is to understand you as you are, not to correct you or improve you or educate you.

To that end, we’ve been writing questions to help us get to know each other better. Some of these questions are serious; many are silly. Sometimes we laugh at things that are meant to be serious, and sometimes our silliness leads us into serious places. Our goal is to publish one each day on our blog. We hope you find them useful, either as prompts to think about yourself or as questions you bring to the car ride or the dinner table. They’re written by all of us, and you’ll see the diversity of our thoughts and interest in them, so in the questions themselves, you’ll get to know us a little better too.

Subscribe to our blog (or follow our Twitter account @familyfoxhole) to have them appear in your inbox or Twitter feed daily.

Today’s question:

What is one happy memory you made this month?

Prayers during a Pandemic: Inspired by John Prine

Our family is taking time daily to pray about the current global health crisis. Our prayers will likely reference the Christian tradition, but we’ve written with an ecumenical and agnostic audience in mind.

If you’d like us to pray for you, let us know. If you’d like us to write a prayer for you or for a concern you have and share it here, just ask. You don’t have to share your name if you don’t want to, and we won’t share it or any other identifying details about you here or elsewhere.

Today’s prayer is a little different. It’s inspired by John Prine, one of our favorite singers, who is critically ill with COVID-19. So it’s for John Prine, but it’s also for all the people John Prine’s music reminds us to love, too.

Today we are thankful for musicians who call our attention to those in need. We pray for all artists who use their gifts to expand our hearts.

We pray for those we don’t know yet whose words we sign, share, and carry with us, and we pray for those we do know. We pray specifically for [names of artists and singers whose work inspires us].

Inspired by the work of John Prine, we also pray today for

We are grateful for voices that call us to kinder thinking, action, and words. We are grateful for their words and seek to have hearts open and tender to their call to remember the vulnerable.

Listening Hearts: Day 89

Our family has been working on a new daily practice: listening. Active, reflective, engaged listening that says to the other person. My desire is to understand you as you are, not to correct you or improve you or educate you.

To that end, we’ve been writing questions to help us get to know each other better. Some of these questions are serious; many are silly. Sometimes we laugh at things that are meant to be serious, and sometimes our silliness leads us into serious places. Our goal is to publish one each day on our blog. We hope you find them useful, either as prompts to think about yourself or as questions you bring to the car ride or the dinner table. They’re written by all of us, and you’ll see the diversity of our thoughts and interest in them, so in the questions themselves, you’ll get to know us a little better too.

Subscribe to our blog (or follow our Twitter account @familyfoxhole) to have them appear in your inbox or Twitter feed daily.

Today’s question:

Would you rather be famous or rich?

Baked Oatmeal, custardy bottom version

Channeling your Depression Era ancestors during a time of economic collapse? Pandemic boredom/anxiety have you cooking with more staples? Just love oatmeal?

Baked oatmeal is one of my favorites. Prep takes about 10 minutes, so I like to put it in the oven, then get a shower or go for a walk, then return for a delicious warm breakfast.

This version makes a baked oatmeal with a custardy base, which I love. If it’s not your thing, don’t give up on baked oatmeal, though, as other versions are a more consistent in their texture. You can also add apples or dried fruit.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 c. oatmeal
  • 1 1/4 c. milk

Directions:

  • Grease a 9×13 pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat oil, eggs, and sugar until well blended.
  • Combine remaining dry ingredients separately, then add to wet and mix further.
  • Stir in milk and mix until smooth.
  • Pour into 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes.

 

Listening Hearts: Day 88

Our family has been working on a new daily practice: listening. Active, reflective, engaged listening that says to the other person. My desire is to understand you as you are, not to correct you or improve you or educate you.

To that end, we’ve been writing questions to help us get to know each other better. Some of these questions are serious; many are silly. Sometimes we laugh at things that are meant to be serious, and sometimes our silliness leads us into serious places. Our goal is to publish one each day on our blog. We hope you find them useful, either as prompts to think about yourself or as questions you bring to the car ride or the dinner table. They’re written by all of us, and you’ll see the diversity of our thoughts and interest in them, so in the questions themselves, you’ll get to know us a little better too.

Subscribe to our blog (or follow our Twitter account @familyfoxhole) to have them appear in your inbox or Twitter feed daily.

Today’s question:

What is your favorite physical characteristic of your body?

Our perpetual diary

We began a perpetual diary last year as a family, starting on the day we purchased our new house. It was symbolically important for us–a start to a new life, and one we wanted to remember.

It works this way: You fill a recipe card box with index cards. Add dividers for each month. Every day, you write the date (but not year) at the top of a new card. Then, you write the year on the first line. Next to it, write a bit about the day. I tend to focus on just one moment of the day. They can be short, like the example below (March 22–2020: Made strawberry pretzel dessert for the kids. Laughing a bit at old recipes.), or they can be longer. Different members of our family write (or dictate) it, which helps me see what different people think is important.

If we have friends over, we may ask them to make an entry for the day.

Above, a wooden box is filled with notecards, divided with dividers with the month written on them. The card for March 22 is lifted from its place in the year to show the words written on it.

By next August 16, we will have completed a full year–and will then add the 2021 entry below the 2020 entry. One goal is to preserve small memories of our daily life, but another is to help us see the big changes that can happen in a year.

This present moment is hard, and there is no guarantee that a year from now, things will be easier. But, even in that case, I think this perpetual diary will help us remember what we have gone through–and that amid the hard things, there have also been sweet moments worth remembering.

Listening Hearts: Day 87

Our family has been working on a new daily practice: listening. Active, reflective, engaged listening that says to the other person. My desire is to understand you as you are, not to correct you or improve you or educate you.

To that end, we’ve been writing questions to help us get to know each other better. Some of these questions are serious; many are silly. Sometimes we laugh at things that are meant to be serious, and sometimes our silliness leads us into serious places. Our goal is to publish one each day on our blog. We hope you find them useful, either as prompts to think about yourself or as questions you bring to the car ride or the dinner table. They’re written by all of us, and you’ll see the diversity of our thoughts and interest in them, so in the questions themselves, you’ll get to know us a little better too.

Subscribe to our blog (or follow our Twitter account @familyfoxhole) to have them appear in your inbox or Twitter feed daily.

Today’s question:

What is something you enjoy doing by yourself?

Prayers during a Pandemic: For people experiencing homelessness

Our family is taking time daily to pray about the current global health crisis. Our prayers will likely reference the Christian tradition, but we’ve written with an ecumenical and agnostic audience in mind.

If you’d like us to pray for you, let us know. If you’d like us to write a prayer for you or for a concern you have and share it here, just ask. You don’t have to share your name if you don’t want to, and we won’t share it or any other identifying details about you here or elsewhere.

Today, we are focusing our prayer on people who do not have adequate permanent homes.

Today we remember those who are homeless, who live in camps, who live in motels, who live in homeless shelters, who live in unsafe housing, or who live in unstable conditions. We especially pray for the 1.4 million school children in the US who are homeless as well as all children birth to 5 who are without a stable and safe home of their own.

We pray for those we don’t know, and we pray for those we do know, including [insert the names of friends, family, neighbors, and others who live or work in care facilities]. We pray for all those who support them, including shelter workers, social workers, and advocates for people living without homes.

We pray for those who lack access to shelter, food, water, sanitary showers and toilets, and other basic human rights. We pray that their material needs would be met and that all forms of injustice that keep them oppressed fall. We pray for the resources to provide and the courage to demand care for our most vulnerable. We seek to always rebuke systems of oppression that prevent every person from resting in safety, no matter the personal risk of doing so, and pray for their eternal dismantling.

Our hope for people without safe and stable housing of their own is that all would have the care and the community they need and that all those who seek shelter would find it. We hope for them warmth, good rest, an opportunity to retreat, and safety.

We stand in solidarity with those who lack safe, stable housing, and we are thankful for their presence among us.

A painting shows two children sleeping.

Above, Albert Anker’s 1895 Two Sleeping Girls on the Stove. Every person deserves a safe, warm, stable place to rest whenever they need it, without worry of eviction and without regard to money.